Together We Can Do This!

It’s Tune-Up time at Dr. Z’s Lifestyle Community! Congratulations to our Maintainers who have committed to restart their journey and will be following Phase One of the Ideal Protein protocol for the next 21 days. We are here to support you and keep you motivated. Drop JUST 10% of your body weight & improve your health. You can do this!

Check the Tune Up Warrior blog daily, flled with words of wisdom from Dr. Zumbado with love 🙂

Day 1-Tune Up with Dr. Z – You can do this!

Hello, Tune Up Warriors!

It has been said that in approaching difficult tasks, our load is lightened by approaching them in numbers and with a sense of community—so for the next 3 weeks (21 days), we will be doing this (Phase One) together.  Every morning, I will greet you through the blog. I would like you to consider starting your day by reading and sharing any thoughts you may have.  I know you’re busy — so am I — but we have got to remember to make ourselves, and our mission the priority!

We can reverse years of damage to our bodies by deciding to raise our standards for ourselves.

I’m not sure who said this, but I like it.  If you are like most, the summer months connote a feeling of care-free and casual living — a throw back, possibly, to grade school summer “daze” and the seemingly endless vacation.  Because now, as adults, we still have pressures of work and family, I see many folks taking their “vacation” in the food arena — eating more, drinking more and celebrating with food. So, summer is over! Time to get back to work mentally, and time to “cleanse,” and revitalize the body in preparation for the winter months ahead.  

My thought today is this:  No matter what happened this summer, no matter how “bad” you say you were — it doesn’t matter.

Life and health are about balance, and there is no balance without pleasure!  We had the pleasure and now it is time for balance.  For the next 21 days (the time it takes to create a new habit), I would like to consider raising your standards for yourself.  I would like for you to consider the incredible vessel you’re in — the human body.  Wounds heal, injuries repair and the whole system improves with just a few changes in what we put (or don’t put) into our bodies.  In four days, four short days, we are all going to be feeling so much better — both physically and emotionally.  Until then, focus on water, veggies, lettuce, and supplements.  

Day 2-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Be Prepared!

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

How was day one?  

Did you: Take ALL of the supplements? Measure the salt and oil? Drink ALL the water? Eat 2 cups of veggies @ lunch and dinner?

I think that this protocol is easy in many respects, but the difficult part for me is remembering to be prepared.  I often find myself “skidding” through my day, getting from one thing to the next, “just in time,” or, too often, 5 minutes late.  The easy part is eating the IP foods, but the veggies and lettuce prep- oh my!   If you are running through your day unconsciously, you will find yourself past the point of reason and will grab something that is convenient… and “convenient”  is not usually Phase One friendly!

Planning and preparing are key in Phase One, but also in Phase 4 (Maintenance).  We always say, Phase 4 is a lot longer than Phase One!

Over the next few weeks, I’d like you to think about the effort and forethought that you put into how you fuel your body and compare your efforts now with your pre-diet routine.  So often I have hear people say, “I really don’t eat that much, in fact, I hardly eat at all during the day because I’m so busy!”  What that tells me is that this person is unconscious about food and that they have placed themselves low on the list of life’s priorities.  If you are unconscious, you ALWAYS eat more than you think!  

Skipping meals and going too long between meals is setting yourself up for an epic fail at the end of the day (I mean that literally, not figuratively).

Hint: preparation and priority. Take time to prepare your veggies for the week. What will you learn this time around that will transfer to maintaining the weight loss once you lose it?  

Day 3-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Food as a reward.

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

We have all heard it, some of us may have even uttered the words,  “If you sit quietly, Jimmy, we will stop and get an ice cream on the way home!”

The focus for the day is the concept of reward.  It is important to realize that our drive for reward is natural and, specifically, our drive to reward with food is “hard wired” into the human brain, right? Back in hunter-gatherer days, if we didn’t have an innate food/drink seeking and consumption behavior (ie, motivation to eat and drink any time food was available) we would never have survived.

This motivation to “seek” and “consume” food is triggered by visual “cues.”  Once we have consumed a rewarding food or beverage enough times (especially as malleable children) that food or beverage becomes the “cue”- not just the sight of it, but also everything associated with it:  the smell of it, the physical or social environment we consumed it in, the people we were with and even the time of day or day of the week!  For me, Fridays are the toughest when on the protocol. Fridays, on Phase 4, are my fun days, but it really goes back to my childhood when there was always great family/social fun on Fridays.

What are your “triggers” and “cues?”  Advertising companies and the food industry are fully aware of what drives your motivation to consume certain foods and beverages, and you should be aware of them, too.  What days of the week or times of the day are you vulnerable to slip?  What is your motivation eat or drink _____________(fill in the blank)?  Be mindful of WHEN and WHY!

Hint: figure out a way to reward yourself with something other than food/beverage.  Schedule a massage, go for a walk with your favorite person, take a bubble bath, or find a friend on Phase One and go have a delicious Phase One meal together – Bonefish is a good spot!

Stay the course! One more day – ketosis here we come!

Day 4-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Fun with food

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

How are you feeling?

Just because you are “on a diet” doesn’t mean your food has to taste bad. Like it our not, our long term success, will be dependent upon finding healthy foods that we love to eat. I truly believe that if healthy food was also delicious, everyone would eat it! One of the most important things in human nutrition is VARIETY. Most IP coaches will tell you that, when reviewing food logs, we see the “usual suspects” for vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers and celery. And the prep? raw or steamed=BORING!

The lack of imagination with which most approach meal planning and prep might be the single biggest reason dieters fail over time. We are only on day four, and we’ve got a ways to go so let’s have some fun!

Today’s task: find a new recipe or try a new vegetable. Approach your task with a sense of adventure and fun – visit for recipe ideas. PLEASE, for the foodies out there, share your recipes for others to try! It’s time to change our food culture and creating delicious healthy meals will help us maintain the weight loss when we’re done!

Here is my favorite recipe for Wilted Kale (serves 2):

3 1/2 cups stemmed and chopped kale
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms and red onion combined
1/3 cup chicken stock
apple cider vinegar to taste
stevia to taste

Add 1/2 tsp. olive oil to pan and heat. Add kale and cook for two minutes. Add stock; cover and cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar and stevia. Remove from heat; add mushrooms and onions.

Hint: Did you know that there are just 36 calories in one cup of kale and it is packed with vitamins A, C, an E, along with calcium and fiber.

Day 5-Tune Up with Dr. Z – To win we have to lose!

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

By now you should be buzzing along with the protocol, energetic and hopefully enjoying fall!

Many people find it hard to accept the facts about weight control. Miracle diets and quick cures are not the answer; permanent lifestyle changes are.

You can’t just change your habits for a week or two and go back to the way you were. You can successfully manage your weight, but it means a lifetime commitment and permanent changes in eating behavior. Weight takes time to gain, and it takes time to lose. But, once the weight is gone, it’s well worth it.

Hint: Stay the course! Take a few minutes EVERY DAY to complete your food journal. It really helps keep you on track and forces you to focus on YOU!

Day 6-Tune Up with Dr. Z – The wheat phenomenon.

Hello, Tune Up Warrior, welcome to day six!  

You are well on our way, and out from under the influence of sugar in all its forms.  Feeling good?  

Hint: Now is the perfect time to look at America’s love affair with WHEAT.  

In the 80’s, the food pyramid (some say funded by Kellogg), was released, with the images of “healthy whole grains” on its prominent base.  We were advised to get 7 servings of healthy whole grains each day.  Did I mention that the current obesity epidemic started in the mid 1980’s? Coincidence? Hmmm…

You are investing time and money in your health, and I am now going to ask you to do a bit more.  Fire up that Kindle or get yourself to the library or bookstore and read:

Wheat Belly, by William Davis, MD


The End of Overeating, by David Kessler, MD

These two authors do a great job of elucidating the deleterious health effects of wheat, as well as exposing the food industry’s manipulation of food, which affects our brain chemistry making us crave more!

Stay the course!

Day 7-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Pass the salt, please!

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

Today the focus is on making sure we are doing everything “exactly right”.  The first week of this protocol is somewhat forgiving.  By now you are feeling some of the effects – your clothes are fitting better or you’ve seen some results on the scale, but going into the second week, it will be important to pay close attention to measuring the amounts of oil, vegetables, water and taking all your supplements and especially the salt!

We have so often heard that salt is bad for our health, but it is important to understand that it is a vital to element and may even have long-term benefits when used in moderation.  

Hint: remember – on this protocol, you are not getting most of the naturally occurring salt that is present in the Standard American Diet (SAD) and, therefore, we must replace it when on the protocol.

Additionally, a diet that is restricted in calories greatly reduces insulin levels and, when insulin drop, the kidneys will release sodium (salt) and the end result can be dehydration, headaches, lethargy and dizziness, specifically orthostatic hypotension.

For more information about the benefits of salt, read more here.

Day 8-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Sleep More, Eat Less!

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

How about a bit of science!?  You heard of insulin and glucagon – here’s two more hormones that you should know about: ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin is a hormone produced in the stomach, intestines and pancreas that signal the brain that the body needs nutrients.  In other words, it stimulates hunger – we could say it is an appetite- enhancing hormone.

Leptin is a hormone derived in the fat cells that signal the brain that the fat cell is “full” and is the hormone most closely associated with the feeling of satiety or fullness.  Some say that high circulating levels of leptin may make it easier for people to resist temptation because, when nutrients are plentiful, it suppresses hunger.

When we think of weight loss or preventing weight gain, the focus is always on diet and exercise, but not so much on the amount or quality of the sleep we get! There are studies that show the importance of getting 8 hours of continuous sleep every night, and that getting less sleep (say, 7 hours instead of 8) will greatly reduce one’s ability to burn fat.  Consider that 35% of American adults are obese and 28% sleep less than 6 hours a night.

Studies suggest that partial sleep deprivation is related to our drive to eat more food!  Sleeping less than 7 hours a night has been shown to:

  • Increase ghrelin production (making you more hungry)
  • Decrease leptin production (decreasing your feelings of satiety)
  • Decrease insulin sensitivity (causing your pancreas to Increase Insulin production and store fat)

Hint: Please consider making quality sleep as important to weight management as your food choices and exercise regime – especially in Phase Four!

Sleep deprivation linked to energy imbalance: Read more here.

Day 9-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Relationships with food – Breaking up is hard to do!

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

We all know we should think of food as fuel, but so often, it really is much more!  Do you know the difference between eating for need and eating for pleasure?

If someone offers you a box of chocolate and you eat one piece, you are eating for pleasure.  If you eat the whole box, you are eating to fill some kind of need.  Bad relationships -whether with people or food – are generally the same; they start out making us feel good but let us down in the end.

Worse, we keep going back to them in spite of all evidence to do the contrary!

Now that you have eliminated those “go-to-foods” – the ones that serve a need other than “hunger”  – it might be time to think about whether or not they are really in our best interest!  For some, food may not be the problem … it may be the solution.  

Hint: I wonder … if there is a food you use out of some kind of emotional need, can you find a replacement? Read more from Dr. Daniel Amen’s book “Unchain Your Brain”

Day 10-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Our flock is strong!

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

Why do geese fly in “V” formation?  Because flying in “S” formation is too difficult!  I wish I could take credit for that, but I read that somewhere!  So funny!  Seriously, our Tune Up “flock” is strong. Tuning up and tuning in!

So, as we “fly” into the weekend I want to share the concept of “synergy.”  The weekend, when on the protocol, can be difficult, but remember, you are not alone in this!  We are doing this together with the idea that road seems less steep when surrounded by like-minded individuals. 

The following is borrowed (with edits) from

As the geese take flight from the Canadian shoreline, they lift off from the water in squawking discourse. Yet, in a matter of seconds, a line begins to emerge from the mass of brown feathers. This line straightens, arches slightly, and then, as on cue, bends sharply to form a perfect V shape. Canada geese fly in V formation for a very pragmatic reason: a flock of geese flying in formation can move faster and maintain flight longer than any one goose flying alone. Synergy is a law of nature.

We have a lot to learn from these geese.

  • By flying in “V ” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.
  • Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front.
  • When the lead goose gets tired, he rotates back in the wing and another goose flies point.
  • These geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
  • Finally, when a goose gets sick, or is wounded by gunshot, and falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow him down to help and protect him. They stay with him until he is either able to fly or until he is dead, and then they launch out on their own or with another formation until they catch up with their group.



Day 11-Tune Up with Dr. Z – The Road Less Traveled.

Hello, Tune Up Warriors!

10-days and what a treat to be feeling so good!   I am reminded how great it feels to focus on myself, my health, my spirit and, through all of you, my community!   Thank you for the privilege!

I am thinking this morning about our decision to take this weight loss journey or this “road,” and it makes me think of the first “self help” book I ever read – the timeless, still relevant book by M. Scott Peck, “The Road Less Traveled.”  

It has been awhile, but I still remember my teenage thoughts when reading the first line of the book.  It went something like this:

Peck: Life is difficult.

Teenage me:  Well, that explains a lot!

You see, up to that point in my life, things had been really difficult.  What I learned from the book is that the challenges of life are what give it meaning, and that the very acceptance of the fact that it is difficult makes all the difference.  We can moan about it or get on with it!  He said that we often choose the “path of least resistance” because it seems easier.  But, is it really, if in the end we haven’t overcome the obstacles that forward us to higher levels of thought, happiness and spirituality?  The gift of overcoming challenges is greater human capacity.

So, if I wrote a book on diets it would go something like this:

Zumbado: Diets are difficult. But I’m stronger.

Hint: we are taking the diet equivalent of “the road less traveled,” and the obstacles we encounter will expand our capacity IF we are paying attention to our emotions and what we are thinking and feeling as we go through this process.

Stay focused today on what you are learning about yourself and your eating habits!  Stay the course – I know I will.  

Day 12-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Looking to the next generation.

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

Whether you are a parent or not, we all know that a lot of what kids learn, they learn by watching adults and those around them. Doesn’t it feel good to be setting a good example to the next generation with what you are eating?

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.  

Some states are taking this seriously – as we all should, but I wonder – is this the way to go?  States are asking schools to collect BMI (Body Mass Index) information at school and send letters to the parents of children whose BMI is in an unhealthy range.  To collect BMI information, all children would have to be weighed.  I know how traumatic a “public” weigh-in would be for me – I can’t imagine how it would feel to be weighed as a young person at school!

Additionally, many children (and parents) having the wrong information, and will begin restricting calories and, as we all know, that is only part of the story.  The results of calorie restriction, as a weight control method has NOT proved to be effective!

Still, parents need to understand childhood obesity as there seems to be a denial, or a common belief among parents that the child will “out grow it” – that it is just “baby fat”.

Should the states and schools play a role?  What are your thoughts?  Please share your comments/feedback.

Hint: DON’T FORGET TO take time to prepare your veggies for the week.

Day 13-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Focus on Your Eating Habits!

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

Tagging on to yesterday’s message, let’s start the week by addressing one of the fundamental problems of the Global Obesity Epidemic – inaccurate information.

Why the Campaign to Stop Obesity Keeps Failing.

Stay focused today on what you are learning about yourself and your eating habits!  Stay the course – I know I will.  

Prep for a successful week:

Take ALL of the supplements.

Measure the salt and oil.

Drink ALL the water.

Eat 2 cups of veggies @ lunch and dinner.

Record (every meal, every day) in the food journal.

Day 14-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Healthy Habits.

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

So, how are you doing?  It is day 14 – two weeks into your Tune Up journey! 

As we head into the last week, it is time to take an inventory.  Whether you are phasing off and or continuing, we need to begin to think about a plan going forward. Schedule an appointment to meet with your coach to outline the best plan.

We all know that maintaining a weight loss is much more difficult than losing it.  Why is it more difficult? Falling back into old habits and the concept that it is easier to do something than to do nothing.

What do I mean?  In Phase One we are focused on “doing” – following the protocol, drinking the water, taking supplements, etc. – we have a plan and are sticking to it, AND we know there is an end in sight!  Not so with maintaining and living at a healthy weight; we have no plan and no end in sight.

So, the “inventory” I am referring to is an inspection of the things from this process that you will take into Phase Four (maintenance).  I would like for you to consider making a plan for Phase Four.  For instance, can you plan your meals for the first month or more of Phase 4?  What foods or cooking practices from Phase 1 can you utilize and ENJOY in Phase 4?  Have you attended a Phase 3/4 workshop? Have you identified a community or support system to keep you connected and mindful?

Read more about developing healthy eating habits – pick one thing and make it stick!

Day 15-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Looking for love in all the wrong places

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

How do you stay successful on your journey to reaching a healthy weight, when you are bombarded with daily stresses? Loss of a loved one, boss driving you mad, kids are not in the back to school groove, etc., etc. We all have been there!

To handle the pressure, we sometimes find ourselves looking for love/comfort in all the wrong places – the pantry. 

You stand in front of the pantry thinking, “I want something to make me feel better.”   Food is so much more than an energy source, isn’t it? We often consider food comfort, a stress outlet, love or an old friend.  

Hint: To avoid giving into the temptation, say to yourself (or even out loud): “Will eating this serve my needs over time?”

We can all relate to the compulsive feeling.  But do we always have to give in to it?  Try this.

Ask yourself: “Will eating this (fill in the blank) serve my needs over time?”

If you are like most, the answer will pop into your head immediately: “No – eating the pistachios may comfort me, but the feeling will quickly be followed by remorse.”

Remember this, next time you lose your willpower. Let me know if it works!  

Day 16-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Shifting gears!

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

While much of the medical and exercise world remains married to the notion that our obesity epidemic is simply a matter of our collective inability to eat less and exercise more, there is research that suggests industrial chemical compounds– found in our environment and food — may predispose some of us to gain weight.  These chemicals are referred to as “obesogens.”

Obesogens are thought to have what’s called “endocrine-disrupting” properties.  Endocrine refers to the hormone regulating system of the body.  Researchers have found that obesogens act like “chemical impostors,” stimulating the hormone receptors the regulate fat.  In other words, consuming them – especially small amounts over time – can cause us to produce more fat, become insulin resistant, and can stimulate appetite and suppress satiety.  Researchers have discovered obesogens in fetal and early childhood (where exposure to these chemicals has a significantly more potent effect) – and suggest they may potentially “program” a person to become fat.

Where are they? To name a few:

  • All processed foods; high-fructose corn syrup is thought to be the most common obesogen, and it is in most processed foods from yogurt to pretzels!
  • Plastic bottles, bags, containers and the lining of cans used in canned products
  • Non-stick pans
  • Pesticides
  • Pre-packaged foods

What’s a consumer to do?

  • Prepare your own food.
  • Minimize the use of plastic products, don’t reheat in plastic containers or bags.  Also, look for BPA free.
  • Eat organic whenever possible – especially for children.
  • Avoid processed and pre-packaged food.

Read more about it here

Day 17-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Happy Hour!

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

Let’s talk about drinking.  It’s happy hour somewhere.

Many people choose not to drink alcohol.  Some for religious reasons, some due to addictive behaviors, others for health reasons, and others just don’t want the empty calories. 

A glass of wine has about 100 calories, a beer generally has between 100 and 200 calories, a shot of gin has about 75 calories and a shot of vodka has about 65, not to mention all the calories in the mixers. Skipping these empty calories for a while can be a real boost to weight loss.

Hint: Alcohol is processed by the liver and while in ketosis your liver is busy turning fat into energy. Give your liver a chance!

Day 18-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Don’t skip the veggies!

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

I have to confess! I have done this–skipped my veggies and salad for lunch.

Don’t do this! You might be tempted to say “well, you’ll just lose more weight!”

Not so! Skipping meals – especially the veggies will cause the body to conserve, and will actually lead to SLOWER weight loss.

Additionally, it may set you up for a rebound splurge tomorrow!

Hint: Take time to prep your salads (2 cups of select veggies and unlimited lettuce).

Day 19-Tune Up with Dr. Z – Eating out.

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

Today we’ll tackle the issue of eating out, both during the weight loss phase and while in maintenance.  This is a tough one, but it can be done with proper planning and resolve.

Remember, losing weight is a temporary phase.  While you are in this weight loss phase, you need to be vigilant, and in some cases may decide going out is not worth the trouble.  There are some family events and special occasions that can’t and shouldn’t be avoided, even while trying to lose weight. 

If you are in a weight maintenance phase, you should be able to fully enjoy your life.  However, that does not mean eating whatever you want, whenever you want, in whatever quantities you want.  You need to find the right balance.  If you are going to enjoy the wine, perhaps you skip the bread and dessert.  If the food is heavy or rich, you set half aside.  It is difficult with our “bigger is better” culture to find a healthy balance, but with the right mindset, you can do it.  Go for quality over quantity.

I find it helpful to look for the true meaning behind an occasion, party, holiday meal, etc.  What are you celebrating?  The birth of a child, someone’s retirement, the end of the week?  Are there non-edible ways to celebrate these events?  Does the focus have to be on the food?  Granted, it’s hard not to focus on turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving, but remember what Thanksgiving is really about – football – no, I mean gratitude.  Let’s be grateful for not stuffing ourselves into a food coma. 

When going out to eat with friends, I like to remind myself that I am there to enjoy the conversation and company, not just the food.  I listen and laugh more when I’m not obsessed with what’s on my plate.

Eating out is hard when you have to watch your weight.  But with the right attitude you can and should still enjoy.

Day 20-Tune Up with Dr. Z – No choice

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

Exercise is just one of those things in life that must be “NO CHOICE”. Today I want you to consider all the things in life that fall into the “no choice” category; certain things just have to be done: brushing and flossing, bathing, cleaning your home and maintaining your lawn, to name a few. We don’t say to ourselves, “Well, do I want to brush my teeth today or not?”

Of course not! That’s crazy!  Long ago, we put this in the “no choice” category and it is simply something we do every day.  Starting today, exercise is a “no choice” thing so, let’s get moving – even if it’s just for 5 minutes – but it must be intentional.

“I’m going to park way over here and power walk (or trot) to the store” OR, I’m charging up the stairs to the 5th floor instead of taking the elevator. Of course, if you have the time, consider a more formal exercise option, but the point is, there is NO CHOICE about this. It must be done!   

Get Moving

Even if you are exercising now, I would still like for you to incorporate walking into your day.  A common mistake that IP dieters make is that they think they can manage their weight in the maintenance phase by only modifying the diet.  While we always say that exercise is not a great way to lose weight, but it is the best way to maintain a healthy weight once you get there. 

Many think that Ideal Protein says “No exercise in Phase One.”  This is not true.  High intensity aerobics or heavy weight lifting is ill advised, but there are a lot of things that dieters can do, physically.  And, given that Phase One ultimately ends, we need to start scheduling movement into each day.  

In the early days of the 20th century, when less than 4% of the population was obese, no one “worked out” and exercise was actually considered dangerous.  But, interestingly, our ancestors did move around all day long – walking was the main form of transportation. Elevators and escalators were not commonplace.  Many people grew their own food and spent the evening hours tending their gardens, not watching TV.  

So, how much are you moving?  Most of us overestimate how much we move. I found it shocking when I first started measuring.  The IdealSmart app syncs with the IdealSmart Fitness tracker, so consider purchasing a fitness tracker if you do not have one. If we don’t measure it, we can’t manage it.  

Benefits of Walking

Recent research shows that regular walking can extend your life by 7 years. We will want to incorporate weight training, yoga and aerobic exercise later, but for now we just want to get moving, and walking is something we can all do.  Even though walking is a low intensity exercise and some think it is not enough, there are additional benefits, particularly as it relates to this program:

  • Walking improves your mood – In every walk with nature one receives far more that he seeks. (John Muir)

 We spend so much time during the day looking at things that are up close – computer screens, telephone screens, books and ledgers.  When we are bent over the books or computer, our mental space gets small.  This posture mimics the posture of those who are depressed or sad -the inner world is small, shoulders are slumped forward, and we look at the ground. Conversely, walking, shoulders back, head up with our eyes focused on things far away like a beautiful tree or a dog playing in the distance, expands the mind and opens us to feelings of hope and positivity.

  • Walking will help you stick with your diet – Especially if you are not exercising now, taking the time to do this for yourself, confirms that you are serious about taking this health initiative.  When you go out of the way to make this happen, and give yourself credit, you will create momentum for all the other healthy activities that we’ve been working on.
  • Walking will make you feel better physically – The more you move the more you feel like moving.  Joints and muscles need movement – the more you sit, the stiffer you get.  
  • Walking improves your sleep – studies show that enjoyable walking activities are better at resulting in sound sleep compared to high intensity exercise.
  • Walking may lower your insulin levels – Post-prandial (after eating) walking may lower your insulin levels.  After eating, insulin levels can spike, especially if the meal is carb laden.  If you walk immediately after eating, studies suggest that you are telling the body that you need more fuel for the activity, so the insulin spike may be lessened. 

How to incorporate walking into your day

  • Use an activity band – Most people underestimate how much they move.  It was shocking to me when I first started tracking movement.  I think you will find, too, like so many people I’ve seen, that it becomes a game and you will find excuses to walk.
  • Go for a morning walk – Studies show that a 20-minute walk in the morning is one of the best ways to start the day.  They report physiologic benefits as well as psychological ones, like improvements in mood and confidence.
  • Park at the far end of the parking lot and take the stairs – Everyone can do this TODAY.  I think many fall into the trap of thinking that exercise needs to be at a set time and for at least an hour.  But, like our early 20th century counterparts, all these movements throughout the day add up.  It is my strong opinion that 1-hour at the gym will not make up for 8 hours of sitting at your desk.

Day 21-Tune Up with Dr. Z – You are Amazing!

Hello, Tune Up Warrior!

Congratulations! You did it! Now, let’s make sure your wellness journey continues.

We have talked about the importance of community, accountability with a coach and the need for support.  Read on for ideas on what else you can do!

Be your own best friend

What would you tell a friend if she told you “I want to lose weight, but I’m just not sure I can do it”. Would you tell her to quit, or would you encourage her to keep going?  Be your own best friend.  Encourage yourself the way you would a friend.   

Take action 

It’s when you feel discouraged that you must take action immediately. Go for a walk.  Read a dieting blog.  Do something that will actively move you just a little closer to your goal.  Once you do something that moves you in the right direction, your feelings of discouragement will diminish.

Baby steps

Remind yourself that you do not have to reach your goal overnight.  This is a journey.  Just take baby steps in the right direction.  Take it one day at a time.  A large weight reduction can be daunting and it is easy to become discouraged, but continuing on your weight loss journey for just one more day – you can do that!

Give Yourself Credit

If you are discouraged, you are most likely NOT catching yourself when you practice good “dieting skills.”  We have to remember that eating supplies an immediate reward — the food itself and the pleasure we derive from it.  When we are denying ourselves, there is NOT an immediate reward — the rewards (a lean fit body, feeling good when you look in the mirror, for example) are well down the road.  So, remind yourself (by writing a card, or on post-it notes on your refrigerator or desk) to give yourself credit for every positive step you take toward reaching your goal.

  • This is hard.  I’m a work in progress.  Stay strong!
  • I’ve done this before, I can get back on track right NOW!
  • I got my walk in … Good job!